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Halos and Avatars: Playing Video Games with God Paperback – 25 Jan 2010

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; 1 edition (25 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664232779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664232771
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 374,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Rather than write off as childish one of the most influential popular culture phenomena ever, Detweiler (Into the Dark: Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century) assembles a savvy group of experts to explore the spiritual and theological implications of video gaming. Those not familiar with the contemporary scene will be amazed to discover how far video games have evolved since the days of Pac Man and Space Invaders. Video games, as a number of these scholars point out, have integrated a narrative aspect that is fascinating and complexÂ--the characters have literally become three-dimensional. Some of the other important issues raised include the power of gaming to build virtual communities, the ways games can help children develop virtues, and the myriad ways religion is portrayed. Especially compelling is an examination of how Muslims are characterized in games. These essayists are fans who lovingly approach and reproach video games, and they earnestly hope that all who pick up a joystick will reflect on the spiritual possibilities. (Feb.)

--Publishers Weekly, January 11, 2010

"Every parent, every gamer, every pastor needs to get Craig Detweiler's superb collection of essays ASAP. Your ability to connect to a digital culture depends on it." Leonard Sweet, Professor of Evangelism at Drew Theological School in Madison, New Jersey; and Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University in Portland, Oregon

"Detweiler moves beyond the tired debate of whether video games are good or evil, probing a deeper, more interesting question: Where is God in the world of games?" David Thomas, author of "Video Game Reviews," distributed by King Features Syndicate. He teaches critical video game theory at the University of Colorado, Denver.

"Detweiler and company add gaming to the growing field of religion and media studies. This ground-breaking book includes spirituality, ethics, and theology in an analytic toolkit designed for parents and players as well as scholars and seekers." Diane Winston, Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the USC Annenberg School for Communication

"As humanity becomes increasingly enmeshed with the interactive and the digital, we will need our spirit guides. Read this book to develop a balanced and informed sense of the way that the Spirit and the Game are starting to interact." Edward Castronova, Associate Professor and Director of the Synthetic Worlds Initiative at Indiana University,and cofounder of

About the Author

Craig Detweiler is Associate Professor of Theology and Culture and Director of the Reel Spirituality Institute at the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology and the Arts at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He is also the author of Into the Dark: Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century and coauthor (with Barry Taylor) of A Matrix of Meanings: Finding God in Pop Culture.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've bought this book because I'm going to make an essay on the topic "videogames and religion", and this book brings to light many interesting questions. It's strongly Christian-oriented, nonetheless it opens paths of reflection; as a gamer and as a person who wants to go deep into the matter, I recommend this book!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x98ad7534) out of 5 stars 1 review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98ad7bb8) out of 5 stars A Must Read 19 Feb. 2010
By James R. Parker - Published on
Format: Paperback
The collection of essays that Craig Detweiler has gathered here represent a much-needed contribution to the study of religion/theology and popular culture. For far too long, video games have been treated as a second class form of entertainment, despite growing revenue and improved aesthetics. Detweiler and his fellow contributors break through the simple good vs. bad judgments of video games and shatter numerous myths about gaming in the process, not the least of which are myths that gaming is a loner activity and that the majority of gamers are teenage boys. The contributors tackle a number of topics that include, among others, the notion of the Nintendo Wii as a sign of the Spirit's movement in the world, the changing nature of sport with the rise of competitive video gaming, the reality of rituals in virtual worlds, and the resistance to video games by Christians and the surprising acceptance and use of them by many Muslims. The book concludes with reflections on the future of religious experience in light of a video game culture as well as an appendix with helpful thoughts on structuring fruitful conversations about video games between parents and their children. This is a must read for anyone interested in video games, specifically, and religion and popular culture in general.
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